Barclays Trader Admits He Was "Paid 400,000 Pounds A Year To Be A Tea Boy"

  • Written by Zero Hedge
  • Published in Economics

We doubt the thousands of McDonald's cashiers and grill workers would agree with this Barclays Plc trader's assessment that his job as a vice president at the British bank was comparable to working at a fast food restaurant.

During the second day of a trial on charges he conspired with traders at other banks to rig a benchmark interest rate, 39-year-old Carlo Palombo told the jury that being a vice president at Barclays is "the equivalent to the guy that serves you in McDonald's," Bloomberg reports.

Which is ironic because both McDonalds cashiers and bank traders have suffered a similar fate...

The prosecutor in the case, James Waddington, took issue with Palombo's analogy, asking if "that’s a comparison that works."

Palombo clarified: What he meant to say is that, like being an employee at a McDonald's franchise, vice president is a relatively junior position.

"Vice president is not what everyone thinks it is," Palombo replied. "It is junior."

Barclays traders Colin Bermingham and Sisse Bohart are also on trial in the case, which was brought by the UK Serious Fraud Office, as well as Achim Kraemer from Deutsche Bank AG.

Barclays

In an attempt to demonstrate just how different the positions of "bank vice president" and McDonald's employee" are, Waddington told the jury that Palombo earned 1 million pounds ($1.35 million) in 2007.

"You weren’t paid 400,000 pounds for being a tea boy, were you?" Waddington asked.

"It’s ridiculous, but I was," Palombo replied.

"As ridiculous as it sounds, a coffee boy at Barclays gets paid 400,000 pounds a year."

Palombo replied that his earnings had nothing to do with the case.

"People do get paid a lot money" in banking, Palombo said.

"If you want to have a conversation about income inequality, then let’s have a conversation about it."

Palombo said that, though he was relatively junior on the desk, his trading made the bank a lot of money. He denied trying to influence Euribor, but did admit that he made requests for a preferred rate to the case desk, which he said was part of his responsibilities as a member of the team.

"I made the requests for the book and for the team," he said. "I made the requests on the instruction of the team."

"If there was anything perceived to be wrong about this, these requests would’ve been made in secret, these requests would’ve been made in non-public ways," he said.

Palombo, who hails from Milan, joined Barclays in the summer of 2002 and worked on several teams before joining the euro short-end book as a junior trader.

We imagine the jurors - all of whom, we're sure, possess a nuanced understanding of what a trader does and how banking works -...

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